Lack of financing for prison reform, justice minister says
MOSCOW, January 16 - RAPSI. State penitentiary system reform is not progressing as rapidly as desired due to a lack of financing, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said on Wednesday.
The central idea behind the prison reform is expensive to implement, while even the system's routine operation is largely underfinanced, he told the State Duma.
The government recently approved the state penitentiary system reform concept up until 2020. The reform was initiated several years ago when then-President Dmitry Medvedev said in his 2009 state-of-the-nation address that the system needed to be reorganized by enhancing punishments that do not include imprisonment.
Konovalov said the existing prison network could be entirely liquidated following the reform and replaced with softer regime colonies for convicts who do not pose a danger to society and a smaller number of prisons for more dangerous criminals.
A scandal ensued late last year after Federal Penitentiary Service First Deputy Director Eduard Petrukhin said prison reform was failing. He said the officials who drafted the measures had not consulted human rights activists. Although media later reported that Petrukhin was fired as a result, Konovalov said he had fallen ill.